Sea Green and Sapphire

A blog about a love of colour, addiction to fabrics and joy of crafting…

Colour Theory

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For me this week has been all about colour. I’ve recently come across several really useful resources on colour specifically aimed at spinners, knitters and other fiber lovers and I thought I’d share these with you, as they have been so inspirational to me (plus most of my actual craft projects are top-secret at the moment so I can’t blog about them yet!).

My recent drive to learn more about colour theory started when I just happened to come across a fantastic book called Color in Spinning"" by Deb Menz, and it made me realise there’s much more to colour theory than I had realised.

The book, as the name implies, is all about yarn design from a colour perspective, and it covers an amazing range of topics for one book. It starts with colour theory, which many craft books do, but Deb Menz covers the topic in much more depth than many other books, moving beyond the basics to introduce many useful concepts such as colour harmonies and how to use contrast in choosing colours. I really like the way each concept is nicely illustrated with photographs of fibres, yarns and knitted swatches.

Deb Menz then moves on to different techniques for dyeing fiber before spinning. There’s as much information here as you’d find in a standard dyeing book, but she’s not nearly finished yet – in fact she’s hardly started as she then moves on to fiber preparation and colour blending using different tools. And finally, she talks about spinning and plying those multicoloured fiber preparations. There’s just so much information here, you really get your money’s worth with this book. You will want to go and create your own beautiful yarns after reading this book, even if you were not a spinner before.

Now that I’ve gushed enough about the book, what else have my color theory classes included? Well, I seemed to have spent most of my spare money on the Interweave Press online shop recently. I of course found Maggie Casey’s spinning video there, as I recently blogged, but since then I also found two excellent video workshops on colour there.

The first one, Yarn Design for Spinners is also by Deb Menz, and it complements nicely what she’s written about in her books. This video again covers a lot of ground. They could easily have made it a bit longer, so that each topic could have been covered with more time. But a fantastic workshop nevertheless. If you like your yarns and textiles to resemble a Monet painting, then I definitely recommend this video for you.

The Deb Menz video is of course most useful for those with an interest in spinning, but the second workshop I’ve been watching, The Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color by Laura Bryant, is useful whether you’re spinner, dyer, knitter or weaver. This workshop starts by showing you how to arrange colours in the order of value (if you love playing with colours, whether it’s by sorting bits of paper or your stash, then this one’s definitely one for you!).

The mostly useful lesson here for me was that yarns with similar values will go together regardless of the actual hues, or colour itself. Another useful point was that if you choose a set of colours with relatively low contrast, you perceive the surface as a play of colour, whereas with high contrast colours (such as black and white) you start paying attention to the pattern. This workshop is more focused, and doesn’t cover quite as much as Deb Menz, but that make it easier to absorb the information and I found it an excellent workshop nevertheless.

So all in all, it has been a very educational and inspirational week here. If you love colours and want to learn more about their use in textile crafts, then I definitely recommend these two knowledgeable ladies’ books and videos.


Author: Heidi

I love colour wherever I find it, in art, photography, gardens, nature. I also love all kinds of fiber arts; spinning, dyeing, knitting, felting, sewing.

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